LAS VEGAS (AP) — Patrick Mahomes scrambled away from pressure as he ran toward the line of scrimmage and launched a deep ball that turned a seemingly broken play into a touchdown.
The Mahomes of old was back Sunday night and the Kansas City Chiefs are back at their usual spot atop the division.
Mahomes threw five touchdown passes and returned to his usual form after a surprisingly shaky stretch this season, and the Chiefs raced past the Las Vegas Raiders 41-14 on Sunday night.
“We’ve done it before,” Mahomes said. “We’ve done it these last few seasons we were doing at the beginning of this season. We were moving the ball and making a lot of stuff happen. We were just turning the ball over. Then we kind of went through a little little spell where we weren’t making these drives and we were still finding ways to win. I knew that we’re going to click back into it.”
Mahomes and the Chiefs (6-4) showed little resemblance to the team that overpowered the AFC the past three seasons over the first nine weeks, raising questions about whether they could make it back to a third straight Super Bowl.
But they used a dominant performance over the Raiders (5-4) on a day everyone else in the division lost to return to the top of the standings.
Mahomes completed three short TD passes before flashing his playmaking brilliance early in the fourth quarter after Kansas City converted a fake punt on a 16-yard pass from Tommy Townsend to Marcus Kemp.
Two plays later, Mahomes scrambled and lofted a deep pass across his body that Darrel Williams caught for a 38-yard TD that made it 34-14. He almost decided to run or throw a shorter pass before he saw the chance to the big play.
“Out of peripheral I saw Darrel,” Mahomes said. “I actually underthrew it a little bit. He tells me he catch, Darrel does. I guess I see that he can. So he made a pretty big-time play.”
Mahomes added a 22-yarder to Byron Pringle and finished 35 for 50 for 406 yards. He also connected on an 8-yarder to Tyreek Hill in the first quarter and then 1-yarders to Hill and rookie tight end Noah Gray.
“He’s a guy that never gets comfortable,” Hill said about Mahomes. “He’s always trying to get better. He’s always trying to find ways to improve himself, the team. Because without him, we go nowhere. He knows that.”
The Raiders have dropped back-to-back games after a promising start to the season as poor execution and off-field issues have done them in.
They won two straight games after coach Jon Gruden resigned following the publication of his old offensive emails but haven’t looked the same the past two weeks. Both losses followed the release of Henry Ruggs III, who was charged with felonies in a DUI crash that killed a 23-year-old woman.
Las Vegas has turned the ball over five times the past two weeks, matching the total from the first seven games, and the improved defense was unable to slow down Mahomes.
Derek Carr threw two TD passes but also had his third interception in the past two weeks as the offense struggled to get going.
The Raiders were held to 82 yards in the first half, their fewest in a home game in eight years, and went 1 for 9 on third downs to fall down double digits in the first half for the fifth time this season.
“We got in a hole and against this team that’s hard,” Carr said. “They just play soft coverage. They get a big lead, play soft coverage, blitz here and there and make you throw in front. It’s a hard way to do it.”
The Raiders brought in speedy receiver DeSean Jackson this week to fill the void left by Ruggs’ release. Jackson had an inauspicious welcome to Las Vegas. On his first target of the game in the third quarter, Jackson caught a 40-yard pass from Carr. But Rashad Fenton knocked the ball out and Tyrann Mathieu recovered.
Instead of the Raiders having a chance to cut into a 10-point deficit, the Chiefs drove for a field goal to make it 27-14.
“Maybe a turning point in the game to some degree,” interim coach Rich Bisaccia said. “The bottom came out after that.”
PUNTERS ARE PEOPLE
Punter AJ Cole delivered one of the plays of the first half for the Raiders when he forced a fumble by returner Mike Hughes that Foster Moreau recovered at midfield.
That set up Las Vegas’ only scoring drive of the first half when Carr connected on a 6-yarder to Hunter Renfrow.
Chiefs: CB Charvarius Ward left the game with an illness.
Raiders: FB Alec Ingold left the game in the first half with a serious knee injury and didn’t return. … RB Jalen Richard (ribs) left in the second half.
Chiefs: Host Dallas on Sunday.
Raiders: Host Cincinnati on Sunday.
This thread will be updated throughout the game
FIRST QUARTER: Kansas City Chiefs receive the opening kickoff.
Chiefs Patrick Mahomes passed to Tyreek Hill to the left for 8 yard touchdown. CHIEFS 7, RAIDERS 0 with 2:51 left in period.
SECOND QUARTER: Raiders Derek Carr passed to Hunter Renfrow to the right for 6 yard touchdown. RAIDERS 7 CHIEFS 7 early in quarter.
Chiefs Harrison Butker kicked a 40-yard field goal. CHIEFS 10, RAIDERS 7, midway through quarter.
Chiefs Patrick Mahomes passed to Tyreek Hill to the right for 1 yard touchdown. CHIEFS 17, RAIDERS 7 late in quarter.
THIRD QUARTER: Raiders Derek Carr passed to Bryan Edwards down the middle for 37 yard touchdown. CHIEFS 17, RAIDERS 14 early in quarter.
Chiefs Patrick Mahomes passed to Noah Gray down the middle for 1 yard touchdown. CHIEFS 24, RAIDERS 14 midway through quarter.
Chiefs Harrison Butker kicked a 35-yard field goal. CHIEFS 27, RAIDERS 14 midway through quarter.
FOURTH QUARTER: Chiefs Patrick Mahomes passed to Darrel Williams to the left for 38 yard touchdown. CHIEFS 34, RAIDERS 14 early in quarter
Chiefs Patrick Mahomes passed to Byron Pringle to the right for 22 yard touchdown. CHIEFS 41, RAIDERS 14 midway through quarter.
This is the pregame story
KANSAS CITY (5-4) at LAS VEGAS (5-3)
Sunday, 5:20 p.m. PST
BETTING LINE: Chiefs by 2 1/2
AGAINST THE SPREAD: Kansas City 2-7; Las Vegas 4-4.
SERIES RECORD: Chiefs lead 68-54-2.
LAST MEETING: Chiefs beat Raiders 35-31 on Nov. 22, 2020, in Las Vegas.
LAST WEEK: Chiefs beat Packers 13-7; Raiders lost to Giants 23-16.
CHIEFS OFFENSE: OVERALL (7), RUSH (15), PASS (6), SCORING (15).
CHIEFS DEFENSE: OVERALL (26), RUSH (21), PASS (21), SCORING (24).
RAIDERS OFFENSE: OVERALL (6), RUSH (27), PASS (2), SCORING (16).
RAIDERS DEFENSE: OVERALL (10), RUSH (28), PASS (5), SCORING (15).
TURNOVER DIFFERENTIAL: Chiefs minus-9; Raiders plus-2.
CHIEFS PLAYER TO WATCH: WR Josh Gordon took more snaps than Demarcus Robinson last week, a sign the former All-Pro is starting to pick up the Kansas City offense. The next step is for Gordon and QB Patrick Mahomes to get on the same page. Their only connection came in Week 5 against Buffalo, even though Gordon has been targeted plenty of times since.
RAIDERS PLAYER TO WATCH: DE Yannick Ngakoue has back-to-back games with two sacks and has done it in three of the past four contests. Ngakoue is the first Raiders player with consecutive multi-sack games since Khalil Mack in 2016 and can tie the franchise record held by Mack (2015) and Derrick Burgess (2005) by doing it in three straight games.
KEY MATCHUP: Chiefs TE Travis Kelce vs. Raiders LB Cory Littleton. Kelce has averaged 110.3 yards receiving and has five TDs in his past six matchups against the Raiders. Littleton could get plenty of time matched up with Kelce and figures to have his hands full.
KEY INJURIES: Chiefs RT Mike Remmers has been out with a knee injury, and backup Lucas Niang hurt his ribs against the Packers. That forced third-stringer Andrew Wylie to finish the game. .. DT Johnathan Hankins (back) and LB Nick Kwiatkoski (ankle) could miss the game for the Raiders.
SERIES NOTES: The Chiefs are 12-4 against the Raiders since Andy Reid took over as coach in 2013. … The teams split last season with the Raiders winning 40-32 at Kansas City and the Chiefs getting a late comeback win in Las Vegas. … Mahomes has 15 TD passes and 1,882 yards passing in six games against the Raiders, his most against any team. … Raiders QB Derek Carr threw for 722 yards and six TDs last season against the Chiefs.
STATS AND STUFF: Reid needs one more win to pass Curly Lambeau (226) for fifth place on the regular-season list. … Mahomes needs 300 yards passing to pass Kurt Warner (29) for the most 300-yard games in a quarterback’s first five seasons. … Mahomes is 10-1 in the month of November. … Mahomes threw for 166 yards last week against Green Bay, the lowest total of his career in a game that he finished. … Mahomes has six interceptions in six games against the Raiders. … Kelce has caught a pass in 120 consecutive games, the second-longest streak in Chiefs history. … WR Tyreek Hill needs one TD to pass Jamaal Charles (64) for third most in Chiefs history. Hill has 53 through the air, six on the ground, four on punt returns and one on kickoff returns. … Chiefs K Harrison Butker has three field goals of at least 50 yards, one off the single-season club record. … Chiefs RB Darrel Williams ran for a career-best 70 yards last week against Green Bay. … LB Nick Bolton leads all rookies with 71 tackles and is second with nine tackles for loss. … The Raiders are 2-1 under interim coach Rich Bisaccia. … Las Vegas turned over the ball three times last week after having only five in the first seven games. … The Raiders have gained a league-leading 98.3 net yards passing per game more than their opponents. … Las Vegas RB Josh Jacobs had a season high 95 yards from scrimmage last week and has run for a TD in three of the past four games. … The Raiders have topped 100 yards rushing in back-to-back gams after doing it only once in the first six games. … This is the first time since 1999 that the Raiders held each of their first eight opponents to fewer than 30 points.
FANTASY TIP: The Raiders settled for four FGs on six red-zone drives last week as part of a continuing problem of finishing off drives. That could make K Daniel Carlson a prime target as no team has attempted more field goals from inside 40 yards than the Raiders the past two seasons.
HENDERSON, Nev. (AP) — Interim Raiders coach Rich Bisaccia has said it will take production from all three phases for Las Vegas to be competitive.
To compete in the AFC West, the Raiders must have both sides of the offense clicking — a diverse passing game, and power rushing game.
The passing game is doing its part, currently ranking fourth in the NFL with 2,441 yards. The rushing game is an entirely different story.
Ranked 28th with 715 yards, the Raiders struggled on the ground over their first six games, topping 86 yards just one time, a 140-yard effort in a 31-28 overtime win against Miami in Week 3. Overall during that span, they averaged 79.8 yards per game and 3.3 yards per attempt.
But if the last two weeks are an indication of improvement, the Raiders should be optimistic heading into a huge division showdown against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday night.
The Raiders rushed for 119 yards in a 33-22 win over Philadelphia on Oct. 24 and for 117 yards in a 23-16 loss at the New York Giants last Sunday. The Raiders’ 5.9 yards per attempt against New York were a season-high in a game during which Las Vegas ran the ball just 20 times, second-fewest this year.
Leading rusher Josh Jacobs rushed for a season-high 76 yards on 13 carries (5.85 yards per attempt) in New York, while Kenyan Drake turned in 100 yards of offense, 30 of them on the ground.
Since Week 4 of the 2019 season, the Raiders have won 13 of the 20 games where they have run for at least 100 yards.
“I think we’ve done some things, and they’ve done some things as a group, to improve,” Raiders offensive coordinator Greg Olson said. “I wouldn’t say we simplified it, but we’re kind of trying to find an identity. I think we are closer to finding that identity as an offense in terms of (the) run game. Happy with the improvement but there is still a long way to go, and we got a lot of football left.”
It’s helped, Olson said, that an offensive line that was struggling with continuity earlier in the season has improved tremendously under veteran O-line coach Tom Cable.
“They were a young group of guys; I know offensive line it’s about chemistry, getting a feel for everybody,” defensive lineman Quinton Jefferson said. “Those dudes work their tails off every single day. I tell them every day that I got much respect.”
The Chiefs have allowed the fifth-most rushing yards this season (1,096) while the 4.7 yards per attempt they’re yielding is the fourth-highest in the NFL.
Overall, the Chiefs rank dead last in allowing 6.3 yards per play and have allowed 2,337 yards passing, sixth-most in the NFL.
With a balanced attack, the Raiders have a good chance to bounce back in what is an important division showdown against the two-time AFC champs.
“The division game is always something we talk about, the best chance to get in the playoffs is win your division,” Bisaccia said. “We’ll be back playing at home and it’s the Kansas City Chiefs. The historic rivalry, we’re all very aware of that. But it’s a game for us that we’re coming off a game where we lost so we’re excited about the opportunity to play football again.”
NOTES: The Raiders will commemorate Charles Woodson’s induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame with a ceremony before Sunday night’s game at Allegiant Stadium. Woodson will be joined by other Raiders Hall of Famers for the tribute. … Bisaccia said LB Nick Kwiatkoski (ankle) and S Tyree Gillespie (hamstring) are out for Sunday. CB Keisean Nixon (ankle) and Amik Robertson (hip) are listed as doubtful.